SK Telecom opens 5G Playground innovation centre

Integrated innovation centre will be used for the development of 5G technologies and services in partnership with various OEMs; plans trial 5G service for 2017

SK Telecom opens 5G Playground innovation centre

SK Telecom has announced the opening of its ‘5G Playground,’ an integrated innovation centre for development of 5G technologies and use cases, which is located at its Corporate R&D Centre in Bundang, Korea. SK Telecom also unveiled plans to launch a 5G trial service in 2017.

5G Testbed
The 5G Playground consists of ‘5G Testbed’; ‘Virtual Experience Room,’ a space where SK Telecom showcases its futuristic services and devices; and ‘T Open Lab,’ which supports the establishment of an enriched 5G ecosystem through support for venture companies.

SK Telecom has set up testbeds with other companies including Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung Electronics, Intel and Rohde & Schwarz – to develop and test 5G technologies.

Nokia partnership
With Nokia, SK Telecom is developing a centimetre-wave (cmWave) 5G radio system by combining key 5G enabling technologies, including newly designed air interface, massive multi-input multi-output (MIMO) and high order modulation technology.

The two companies claim to have set a new milestone that adds momentum to the standardization of 5G technologies by successfully demonstrating 19.1Gbps transmission speed over the air using 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), 8x8 MIMO transmission and 400 MHz of bandwidth.

In addition, they have jointly developed a 5G 3D system level simulator optimised for the Korean mobile environment as well as an SDN-enabled Evolved Packet Core (EPC) with separated user and control plane functions to efficiently support huge increase in traffic and low latency for future 5G services.

Ericsson partnership
SK Telecom and Ericsson have built centimetre-wave (cmWave) 5G radio system designed with new air inter-face/frame ensuring lower latency, lower inter-cell interface and dynamic down-link/uplink transmission.

They have also demonstrated 5G network slicing where a single physical network is partitioned into multiple virtual networks providing optimum support for different type of services. Based on the 5G radio and core networks developed so far, the two companies are currently preparing to integrate the two parts to build an end-to-end 5G system.

Samsung Electronics partnership
With Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom has developed 3D beamforming techniques with large scale array antennas at both transmitter and receiver sides to overcome unfavourable channel conditions in millimetre-wave (mmWave) communications. They have first demonstrated the technology at MWC 2015 held in Barcelona, Spain in February.

They are currently conducting various laboratory and field tests to verify the performance of 3D beamforming techniques using mmWave band in the urban environment and develop technical solution to deal with shadowing issue. They also plan to extend its application to a multi-cell environment.

Intel partnership
SK Telecom and Intel will jointly develop ‘Anchor-Booster Cell’ and Massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) with Cloud RAN(C-RAN). At MWC 2015, they achieved the world’s first demonstration of Anchor-Booster Cell which enables seamless transmission of massive amounts of data via a combination of an LTE network and mmWave next-generation wireless LAN.

This Anchor-Booster Cell is being implemented with mobile edge computing (MEC) to offer ‘5G small cell as a service’. They have also demonstrated massive MIMO on cloud-RAN platform, offering higher flexibility to realize 5G RAN with IT server.

Rohde & Schwartz partnership
SK Telecom is also working with Rohde & Schwartz to design and verify various types of new air interfaces. 5G air interface is required to be flexible, scalable, robust, reliable and content aware, which cannot be fully supported with static Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) waveform applied to today’s LTE network.

Thus, the two companies are focusing on the development of new waveforms, including scalable OFDM, Filter Bank Multi-Carrier (FBMC), Generalized Frequency Division Multiplexing (GFDM), and Universal Filtered Multi-Carrier (UFMC).

Virtual Experience Room
With the aim to secure leadership in the upcoming era of 5G, SK Telecom is focusing on the development of Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and services. Named T-AR, SK Telecom’s AR platform offers both openness and interoperability to maximize ease-of-use for developers.

At the Virtual Experience Room, SK Telecom is showcasing T-AR for Project Tango, a one-stop service for users to easily develop and execute an AR service by accurately learning 3D space. The company has also unveiled a Remote AR system that is built with space recognition and gesture sensing technologies to enable users who are physically located in different places to collaborate through AR contents.

SK Telecom, together with Sony, has also showcased ‘5G-based 4K live production system’ that transmits ultra-high definition video. As opposed to traditional outdoor live broadcasting that requires satellite, optic cable and relay station, live broadcasting in the 5G era will require no pre-established infrastructure or expensive relay equipment.

The company also displayed ‘Smart Table (tentatively named),’ which is a table-top computing device that provides users with a futuristic experience. It enables multiple users to independently perform different tasks on its large-scale touch display. SK Telecom projects that touch display computing devices including table-top device are likely to lead the ‘Computing Everywhere’ environment that will become widespread in the future.

Within the Virtual Experience Room locates a small room called ‘Immersive Experience Room,’ designed to trial futuristic services that offer a truly immersive experience. It creates a virtual environment through action cameras and ultra-low latency streaming equipment installed on three walls.

T Open Lab
T Open Lab, first established in 2012, is a space where venture companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can turn their bright ideas into attractive products by utilizing SK Telecom’s R&D infrastructure.

Stressing the importance of an enriched ecosystem in realizing a true 5G era, SK Telecom has doubled the Lab’s space – which consists of a project room and a conference room - to accommodate a greater number of developers. Moreover, the company said that, in 2016, it will open a website where it can share 5G-related progress with diverse business partners.

Meanwhile, SK Telecom said that it will contribute to the development of 5G requirements and standards. In line with this, the company today published its guidelines for 5G architecture design and implementation.

“SK Telecom is delighted to announce the opening of 5G Playground, which will serve as a hub for innovations towards achieving 5G, which holds the power to turn our imaginations into reality,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, chief technology officer of SK Telecom.

“At 5G Playground, SK Telecom will work relentlessly with global leading companies to develop 5G technologies and services, while building a 5G ecosystem that brings benefits to all stakeholders.”


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